Divorce costs as much as the parties make it cost, period. I’ve had this very important conversation with hundreds of individuals facing divorce and unfortunately the answer to the million dollar question, “how will my divorce cost me?” depends on unknown variables. Divorce is a highly emotional process and does not always operate based on logic. It typically only takes one party to a divorce wanting to fight, in order to make the proceeding last longer and cost more to both parties.
Ending a marriage, especially with complex assets and/or children, is a difficult and often expensive process. However, the range of expense and the amount of time it will take an average couple to get divorced in Oklahoma can be forecasted with some accuracy. Statistics show that divorces typically fall between $4,000 and $25,000 in total expense to each party. It is true that you will have more expense up front by hiring a divorce attorney. However, the benefits in the long run related to your financial fure and relationship with your children is well worth the investment of working with an experienced Oklahoma divorce attorney.
The initial investment of working with an experienced Oklahoma divorce attorney and family law team pays off exponentially in the long-run for most individuals facing divorce in Oklahoma. The guidance and strategic advance that can be gained with an experienced Oklahoma divorce lawyer cannot be overstated. When you invest in your future beyond divorce, the benefits are obvious at every step of the way.
You do have power over the total expense of your divorce in Oklahoma. You cannot control the conduct of the other party; however, you can impact the process by listening to your divorce attorney and only fighting on the issue that must be contested in order to seek the outcomes you care the most about in your divorce case.
How Can I Reduce the Cost of my Divorce?
When you take a strategic approach to your divorce and decide early on what issues you are willing to concede it greatly increases the chances for a smoother, i.e. less expensive process in your divorce. The primary issues that you can and your soon to be former spouse will need to resolve or fight over during the divorce process fall within the following categories:
- Child Custody: where your children will sleep at night
- Legal Custody: who has what decision-making authority for major decisions in your children’s lives, i.e. school, religious upbringing, discipline, extra-curricular activities.
- Spousal Support: who will pay what amount of child support and for how long
- Division of Property: who gets what stuff, i.e. the marital home, cars
When you are able to identify the most important issue with your chosen Oklahoma City divorce attorney, it enables you to make strategic decisions on what settlements/agreements you are willing to reach on other issues in your divorce case. Many of our clients are deeply concerned about losing their retirement and/or the resources they have worked years to develop. However, if you keep that key piece of information close to your chest and offer other benefits to your spouse as a settlement proposal, many time our clients are able to save their retirement or the majority of their retirement by making concessions on issues that do not mean as much to our client.
When our clients are deeply concerned about the custody arraignment of their children during and after the divorce process, we fight to identify a custody and visitation plan that serves their interests, while providing a substantial amount of parental time to the other parent, when it is convenient for our client’s life and schedule. Again, this information or deired outcome is not stated to the other party; however, settlement offers are made that convey other benefits/interests in exchange for our client getting what they care about most.
We have found that when our clients are able to identify one or two key issues that they care the most about and they are willing to give more than 50% on other issues, our divorce clients end up receiving an outcome they did not think was possible. You do not need to tell, in fact you should not tell, your soon to be former spouse what you care most about in the divorce. When you are able to focus your Oklahoma divorce lawyers strategy at obtaining one or two outcomes, instead of ten, it will help you facilitate a quicker route to resolving your divorce and hopefully obtaining yhour goals in divorce.
The end result, if you are able to only fight the fights worth fighting, you will be able to spend less time and money on seeking your divorce and be able to move on to our life beyond divorce more quickly and more peacefully.
Your Fierce Advocates® in Divorce
Leaving a marriage and the transition that comes from the life you have built is difficult. For most of our clients this is an experience they never expected and never wanted to go through. These facts of most divorces in Oklahoma only support the reason you need a Fierce Advocate® by your side during this difficult and unknown process.
I’ll tell you the truth, it is difficult to go through a divorce. You need a family law attorney you can trust and that you know will fight for you when you need it. Our team of Fierce Advocates®, from intake, to paralegals, to divorce attorneys, know the road ahead for you, because they walk along clients in a similar situation to you every day. It is what we do. Our founder is a Judge Advocate and serves our country and Soldiers and their interests. Our team is dedicated to fighting for your best interests and will do everything we can to minimize the unnecessary expense of your Oklahoma divorce.
What are the typically costs in a Divorce?
Yes, the time and experience of your Oklahoma divorce attorney is often the most expensive part of any divorce case. However, there are other costs that you should be aware of in your divorce.
For one, getting the process going is often the most expensive part of any divorce. The vast majority of our divorce clients have their highest bills within the first month of divorce, because the following key elements of an Oklahoma divorce happen within the first 30 days:
- Initial client intake meeting with paralegal and attorney to ensure our team understands and our client understands their goals and options in a divorce case (see guidance above on knowing what you want to fight over in divorce)
- Attorney time to review client questionnaire
- Attorney and paralegal time to draft the divorce petition and all supporting pleadings
- Client meeting to discuss temporary hearing process and goals for this crucial step
- Initial discussions and correspondence with opposing counsel are frequent in the first month of a pending divorce
- Clients, for good reason, often have the most questions and concerns during the first month of a pending divorce
The first month of a divorce case is often the most expensive period and the list above captures many of the reasons why the first month of divorce is so expensive.
Other Costs in Oklahoma Divorce
As previously stated, there are a variety of costs that you may face in a divorce case in Oklahoma. Yes, attorney fees are a primary aspect of your divorce fees. However, the following are additional expenses you may or may not face. This list is intended to give you an idea of questions to ask your chosen Oklahoma family law attorney to better prepare yourself for the divorce process and in forecasting the cost of your divorce:
- Process Server: there are deadlines that you can enforce upon your spouse or seek a default judgement for their failure to respond in court; however, none of these protections are available, if you do not have good service. Process servers present court documents to witnesses or your spouse in a divorce and swear to the court that they did so. When a process server is necessary in your divorce case, you will have to pay for their time to serve your spouse.
- Mediation: this is a tool used to resolve many divorces that are somewhat contentious, but not such a big fight that they most go to trial. During mediation both parties, with their divorce attorneys, will meet with a third party attorney to attempt to resolve all or most of the issues in the divorce to facilitate resolution.
- Guardian Ad Litem: this is an attorney for the children of a divorce that is not always necessary, but can be requested by a party or simply appointed by the court. The role of the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is to evaluate the situation and represent the best interests of the children as their voice in court. Their opinion/position can be very influential on the case and it is a delicate process, when a GAL is involved in your divorce.
- Investigator: most cases do not require the services of an investigator; however, you may need to identify information or witnesses that the other party is not interested in disclosing. An investigator can assist you and your divorce attorney in obtaining useful information to see a fuller picture in your divorce.
- Transcripts: in some contested divorces multiple hearings take place that need to be recorded in order to “preserve the record” if there is an issue that you need to appeal. When you need to obtain a copy of a transcript, you must pay the court reporter to provide you a copy.
- Deposition: each party has the right to depose or ask the other party/witnesses questions under oath in a divorce. This tool is rarely used in Oklahoma divorces; however, it can be quite expensive if you or the other party elect to take depositions.
- Parenting Coordinator: when the court appoints a parenting coordinator, you or the other party to your divorce will be required to pay for their time to work on your case and “facilitate” visitation.
- Counselors: in some difficult divorces or divorces involving children that suffer mental health or emotional issues/trauma, one or both of the parties will be responsible to pay for counseling services ordered by the court. These visits are typically weekly or bi-weekly and can be very expensive, if not covered by insurance.
- Divorce Class: in Oklahoma prior to being granted a divorce, the parties must take a parenting course or divorce course. Additionally courses may be required by the Court and each class has an expense that must be paid by the parties.
- Parenting Course: parenting courses may be one seminar for a few hours or weekly training ordered by the Court. The length and expense of these courses can vary greatly.
- Drug testing/Breathalyzer: when drugs or alcohol are an issue in a divorce case, the Court will order frequent drug or alcohol testing. These expenses are small on an individual basis; however, when they are routine for a number of months the costs add up.
- Expert Witnesses: in divorce cases heading to trial, expert witnesses often play a role in custody or financial issues. Forensic accounting is a common financial issue in contested divorce cases involving suspected hiding of assets or funds. Additionally, when one or both parties own interests in business the other party will often use the services of an expert to assist the court in determining the value of the business and the parties’ interest
- TRIAL: divorce cases they cannot be resolved, which are a small minority of divorces in Oklahoma, will eventually go to bench trial before the family law judge in your case. When an Oklahoma divorce case proceeds to trial, it is important that you and your Oklahoma divorce attorney have a firm grasp on the facts, issues, and goals of trial. The process of preparing for trial in divorce and the time in court add up to a sizeable expense in some divorce cases.
Tips for Reducing the Costs of Your Oklahoma Divorce
The less time your family law team has to spend gathering information or asking you to gather documents the better. You are required to compile a complete financial disclosure at the beginning of the divorce process, including tax returns, insurance, bank records, and the information to identify all of your assets. This is a tedious process; however, the more work you do without involving your attorney, the less this process will cost you.
The more you communicate with your Oklahoma divorce attorney early in your divorce process, the easier it will be to resolve your case, while saving on legal fees.
CONTACT CANNON & ASSOCIATES TODAY!
If you are facing or considering divorce in Oklahoma, it is important to work with an experienced Oklahoma City divorce attorney to increase your chance of obtaining the outcome you desire. Additionally, by taking a strategic approach to the divorce process, you may be able to save time, stress, and money in this process.
Your Fierce Advocates® at Cannon & Associates are dedicated to answering your questions and preparing you for the road ahead. We take pride in the responsibility of serving families facing divorce and the court system every day and are here to assist you through this confusing process.
We offer free case strategy sessions to understand your circumstance and answer your questions about the process in a confidential setting, whether you decide to work with us or not. 405-591-3935